Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not Without You - Harriet Evans

I guess with chick lit you usually know what you are getting, you know that the girl will end up with the boy while there is a small obstacle in the way of them being happy together.  So in this one, we get Sophie who is an English girl, who started off on an English soap, then went to Hollywood where she has done some romantic comedies.

She then buys a house, once owned by the famous English actress Eve Noel, who made her favorite movies from the 1950's then disappeared.  What happened to her, and will Sophie get to make the movies that she wants instead of being stuck in one genre?

A nice little read, no real surprises but enough name dropping and scene setting to keep me amused.  3/5

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Dallas Buyers Club

With the promise of a cyclone arriving over the weekend, it felt ok to head off for a quick bite to eat and then a movie.  Somehow the cinemas have all conspired to put their movies on at 2.30 and 8.30 pm.  I am such an oldie now that me and a bestie are happy to head to a 6pm session in order to be home by 8.30 pm.  The two on offer were Dallas Buyers Club and the Monument Men, so I let the bestie choose what suited.

I wasn't sure what to expect, I had soon all the Matthew McConaughey articles about how skinny he got for this role, and sometimes it was pretty brutal to look at.  I guess you know the story, but if you don't it is about a Dallas electrician, who after a bit of rough living, ends up in the mid 80's being diagnosed with AIDs.  After being refused AZT which is only available on trial at the time, he heads to Mexico to try and find an alternative.  This alternative, seems to have better results, and so he illegally brings it back to Dallas and offers it to other patients.

It is a pretty warts and all movie, and is definitely one for the adults.  An interesting story though, but I didn't walk away touched by it.  I just kept thinking that Matthew must have been pretty keen for a sandwich once filming was over.  3/5

The Death Class - Erika Hayasaki

Professor Norma Rowe teaches a course on death at a small college in New Jersey, which due to its popularity has a three year wait list to get into.  The author, journalist Erika Hayasaki is spends four years observing and is accepted in the course, as long as she participates in all the school work.

As well as visits to the mortuary, prison, hospice and crematoriums we get to learn about Normas upbringing, her previous career as a mental health nurse, and about the students she teaches and the impact she has on their lives.

As well as looking at death, she also encourages the students to participate in their community, giving back and helping others, and you have to admire Norma for sharing her wisdom with so many students and their families, for being available in so many difficult situations.

The Outcast Dead - Elly Griffiths

I really like Ruth Galloway as a character, she seems real, she worries about her daughter, has some men in her life that hover around but not in a way that you want to slap her to come to her senses, she also worries about her weight and what she wears.  She is not in a will they/won't they get together with a handsome detective that wears thin after the first novel.

  As well as investigating a notorious child murderers remains, she has to help out when a friends child is taken, which I guess is a mothers worst nightmare.   Somehow though, even though I got the story I wasn't quite convinced by the whole goings on, I couldn't really picture it all in my head.  Still, I eagerly await her next adventure.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Spice Merchant's Wife - Charlotte Betts

We get to meet Kate Finche in 1666, at the time of the Great Fire of London.  After a childhood where she is neglected by a brutal aunt, she has found herself in a good marriage where her prospects look promising after her father in law has invested in goods imported by the family business.

  However, the fire is about to change their fortunes and Kate must find herself having to rely on the kindness of friends to survive.

I love a good historical novel that draws me into the cobblestoned streets, and I remember standing right where the Great fire started on London streets and wondering how much must have changed since those times.  4/5

Confessions of a Mediocre Widow - Catherine Tidd

Catherine Tidd is only 31 when her husband is involved in  a motorbike accident on his way to work.  Left a widow with three young children, we follow her journey as she has to organise his funeral and carry on with a new life.

I always like a good memoir, it gives you a few life lessons along the way and even though I am not married myself I can appreciate how awful this experience is for Catherine and laugh along with her at the absurd things she encounters.  Realising that she has written his birthday incorrectly on the large rock used as a headstone did make me smile, as it is easier when you are grieving to make mistakes.  Catherine started off as a blogger, and I do admire her writing skills as she managed to make me enjoy this story of her life.


Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan

So I moved house and there was first no time for reading and then no time for blogging.  This one was a great one to start off the New Year with though, it's tale of three rich Chinese Singaporean families made me smile and want to tell everyone I worked with about it.  Super rich stories have to be careful not to verge on the obnoxious by having some likeable characters and plenty of shopping and alcohol made this one a good mix.